As the days turned to weeks and
then months without Jones inking a deal, anticipation continued to grow.
Ultimately, Jones found his way to
Through the Tigers' first five
games of the season, Jones has seen action in each game. In LSU's first four
contests, he came in as a reserve and notched three tackles twice. All totaled,
he has been credited with seven tackles, five of them solo, and has shown some
inkling as to why he was so highly touted coming out of East St. John
Jones may not have been a starter on defense against the Green Wave; but in a game that was surprisingly in doubt until late in the third quarter, he was the one put on the field first to ensure Tulane's punts would be adequately handled.
Following two consecutive weeks in which Mitchell did struggle at times fielding kicks cleanly, Jones got the nod for the bulk of Tulane's 10 punts. He hauled in three. Although none were returned for more than 11 yards, Jones accomplished the arduous task of making certain he didn't lose any of Ross Thevenot's boots in the lights or cavernous ceiling of the Louisiana Superdome.
Much like many of the positions on
LSU's team this season, punt returner has sort of become a group effort. First
there was running back by committee, then a pick-em to see who would lead the
Tigers in receiving, then the two quarterback rotation, and now the job of punt
returner is being divvied up. In game number five, Brandon LaFell became the
first LSU receiver to have a second game as leader. Against
Holding onto the ball has been a problem for Mitchell, however, and it was evident last Saturday that someone else needed to have an opportunity. The duty fell to Jones.
Trindon Holliday, it should come as no surprise, was also back to receive punts late against the Green Wave. Holliday gave the Tigers some help on offense also. Jones eventually had chances to make plays on defense versus the Green Wave. To go along with his two tackles, including one for a loss of 2 yards, Jones also added a PBU to his résumé against Tulane.
After a four-play, 44-yard drive gave the Tigers a 34-9 lead with 8:49 remaining in the final quarter, Tulane began its 13th possession on its own 21-yard line. The Green Wave managed to move the ball out to its own 41-yard line before the drive quickly stalled.
Faced with a third-and-13 from his own 38-yard line, Tulane's Kevin Moore let fly a pass that was broken up by Jones. Even if the catch had been made, the result would not have given the Green Wave a first down. Even if Tulane had converted and gone on to score, the outcome of the game would not have been changed. But the fact that Jones did manage to force an incompletion at that point in the game showed that his motor was still running, was a testament to the type of player he is, and demonstrated that there isn't any quit in him. In fact, immediately after breaking up the pass, Jones trotted down to the other end of the field to perform his special teams duty for the day.
So, no, there weren't any 100-plus yard returns for Jones like Eddie Kennison or returns á la Billy Cannon on one particular Halloween night. Jones didn't look like Skyler Green back there or even Kevin Faulk. He does look capable of similar feats, however, and proved that the position is most assuredly in good hands when he's fielding kicks.